Dorm Life in the Time of COVID


Robert Purchase II

Photo of a student sitting alone in university residence. Photo by Robert Purchase II.

   Student life at CSU has changed a lot in the year since the COVID-19 pandemic has come to our attention. The year 2020 has been an unforgettable and traumatic experience for most of the people in the world, uprooting their lives. Unemployment sky-rocketed, loved ones have been lost, politics has further polarized individuals, and life has quickly become all the more strange. 


   Thankfully, there are vaccines on the way, and the first few waves of people have already been vaccinated, or are in the process of getting vaccinated. That being said, it has been an unusually slow process in Georgia. 


   In the meantime, dorm life on CSU’s campus has adapted to establish protection and effective sanitization. Nevertheless, the pandemic has proved itself to be a bizarre reorientation of what is believed to be “normal.”


   Jonathan Smith, a Sophomore Finance Major at CSU, when asked of his own personal experience with COVID, said, “It didn’t seem so serious at first, but as the number of cases began to rise it felt like everything was in short notice as we had to pack up and leave the dorms.” When asked about the current rules for people who live in the dorms, Smith explained that dorm students had been told they “were not allowed to have family come in, or friends who don’t already live in the dorms.”


   Smith expressed the difficulty of staying in touch with friends, especially those back home. Though Smith felt saddened by his lack of interaction with friends and family, he has since learned to use software such as Zoom to speak with his loved ones. Thankfully new innovations within digital video calls and messaging applications have allowed students, not only those living in the dorms, to communicate remotely. 


   Some professors at CSU have resorted to traveling to Auburn to receive their vaccine shots. When asked about how he felt about the vaccination process in Georgia, Jonathan said, “it’s getting better, and I know a few who have been vaccinated, but even a few of my older family members who were over sixty years old still had to pull an arm and a leg to get the vaccine.”


   Another student, Ryan Boles, a Sophomore Communication major, shared his personal experience with, and before COVID-19. “It was nice before it all happened, we could easily meet up and hangout with friends, but now it feels more or less like a ghost town.”


    Boles had also mentioned how difficult it has been for him to be able to make time to speak with friends. “The no guest policy is a much needed restriction, but having to take online classes as well has made it feel like living in a small room alone.” 


   Though the protective restrictions are placed for the health and concern of the students, it is evident there are drawbacks for those who enjoy setting up parties and club meetings. The isolation and lack of social gatherings has left something missing in what students expect to experience in residence life. Though Boles mainly takes online courses, he exhibited his joy for what little social interaction he does have with friends in hybrid classes. 


   Boles shared his perception on the current vaccination process in Georgia, saying, “I have yet to get vaccinated, and I’m not in a rush to either, but plenty of good signs are coming through the media. It would seem to me that the future of the vaccine will be treated like the annual flu shot, or requirement shots needed to go to college.”


   It is true that student residence life on CSU’s campus isn’t easy, but with the current circumstances of the pandemic, the restrictions are agreeable for students. Social lives and physical interactions among friends, family, and even among classroom peers have taken a new form, which students have had to learn to adapt to. The pandemic has been a terrible grievance for all, but through this struggle, the world is tracing back slowly yet safely to a previous social equilibrium.